If you know the basic facts regarding the structure of Swedish clubs – stop
reading now. If you don´t, you might learn something new.
Most teams started as non-profit organizations as a way to get people living
in the area interested and active in sports. The only thing one had to do to
become a member of the club was to pay a small fee to enter. The active
members elected a board that should run the club. This structure is still
common in Sweden, although the importance of money in hockey has grown. The
structure of most major clubs are similar to the structure of most
companies, although hockey is not a profit oriented business designed to
please an owner or a group of owners. Teams can not be sold or moved.
Some clubs are even introducing themselves at the stock exchange, turning
themselves into a profit-oriented business. The thinking behind the
metamorphosis is that teams have to have a sound economy if they want to be
successful in the Elitserien, although this sounds pretty ironic considering
the vast amount of Swedish clubs that are in debt.
One key source of revenue is local businesses as they supply sponsoring and
advertise on boards and jerseys. Teams whose Elitserien status can be
attributed to having a large company in the town include MoDo, who has even
assumed the name of the company, and Luleå, who is heavily sponsored by
More than six Elitserien veterans could be drafted this year, and there are two major factors that have created this demand. First, the expansion of the NHL obviously creates a need for more players. Second, some players are simply late bloomers, and there are diamonds in the rough in every league.
From the Elitserien, defensive defensemen seem to be the most attractive players. Brynäs´ Niclas Wallin and Malmö´s Andreas Lilja are solid stay-at-home types who can get involved physically. Lilja has expressed a desire to play in North America, but the wishes of Niclas Wallin still remain a secret.
Swedish champions Djurgården have been losing key players right and left it seems, and the situation could get worse. Espen Knutsen has already signed on to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and two more players could be on the verge of crossing the Atlantic to play. Unsung hero defenseman Mikael Magnusson had a very solid showing at the World Championships and in the Elitserien this season, and there is some buzz that he might be drafted this year. The 27-year-old defender scored 5 goals and 6 assists in 49 games and also racked up a solid 73 penalty minute total. The other player rumoured to be heading for the NHL is a bigger surprise, not so much around the name as the timing. Defensive center Niclas Falk, who had a poor season by his standards, has not been drafted after good seasons in the past when he was a key player in both Djurgården and for Team Sweden at the World Championships.
Leksand defenseman Lars Jonsson is the top rated Swede according to the Swedish correspondents at Hockey´s Future. He has achieved that by playing at a high level all season long and displaying flashes of greatness on both the Swedish national junior team and on Leksand´s junior team. Leksand officials expect Jonsson to step right in an play 30-40 of the 50 regular season games in the Elitserien next season.
The second rated player is Martin Samuelsson who was highly touted as a 16-year-old. He had to battle both injuries and inconsistency this season and his offensive output has to be considered a disappointment. A point-per-game pace in a soft league is not good enough for a potential first round pick. He added a silver lining to his poor season with a good U18 World Championship where he scored 3 goals and 5 assists in 6 games. The gifted Samuelsson, who moved from Stockholm to play for MoDo´s juniorteam, has now moved back to the Swedish capital and will suit up for Hammarby´s senior team next season. A good choice for Samuelsson who left a MoDo club where a lot of the players seemed more concerned about playing for the scouts than playing for their teammates at times. A selfish attitude won´t cut it in senior hockey, and next year will be very beneficial for him.
Finals coming up in the Swedish Elitserien
If the Sedin-twins are using the Elitserien playoffs as a crusade to prove
all their critics wrong, they should find something else to use as a
motivational tool. The Sedins, along with Mathias Weinhandl, has carried
MoDo on their backs throughout the playoffs and tonights performance away
against Brynäs in the fifth and deciding game in the Semifinals has to be
MoDo won the game 6-3, and Line 19, the nickname for the above mentioned
trio of 19-year olds, combined to score all six goals for MoDo. Henrik Sedin
scored two goals and added three assists, Daniel Sedin had two goals and two
assists, and Mathias Weinhandl had two goals and one assist. That is one
clear message sent to the critics, myself included, who claim that they
don’t show up in the big games.
After consecutive sub-par showings in the WJC’s and an inconsistent
performance in the playoffs last year there is reason to doubt if the
Sedin’s are the kind of players which a team can rely on in the big game,
and their lack of grit and emotion when things don’t go their way makes them
look very ineffective. To their defense it has to be said that they worked
hard and was playing really well in game 4 when nothing went their way and
Rangers goalie prospect Johan Holmqvist stole the show. Also, a strong
indication of how well the Sedin’s have been playing this year in the Read more»
The first Swedish playoffs of the new millenium has proven to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. One team – Djurgården, have already qualified for the final. The team that they are expected to face of against is Modo, home of the famous “Line 19″, with New York Islanders prospects Mattias Weinhandl joining the Sedin twins. The talk of the moment is the match-up between Modo and Brynäs in the second semi-final. These two teams met last year in the finals of the playoffs with Brynäs taking home the championship after winning the fifth and decisive game away from home after a marvellous feat by the young New York Rangers prospects Johan Holmqvist in goal.